Translators landed on Mars in October

Two years ago, when we said goodbye to the other participants at the 2019 Meet Central Europe conference in Prague, full of impressions but also tired after an intensive 3-day programme, the organisers let everyone know that the following MCE conference would be held in Innsbruck, Austria.

The prospect of an event in this picturesque town in the Alps again put energy into our veins and we immediately started making plans for how to improve our presentation and what we could showcase there. Simply put, we were
looking forward to it like small children.

But as we all know, things took a different path indeed…


In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the conference was not held at all and in the year that followed, the organisers decided to convert it to an online format, focused primarily on vendor management. In an effort to give this conference a boost and make it attractive to attendees at a time when the Internet was overwhelmed with similar online events, MCE 2021 was located on Mars. On 13 – 15 October, the crews of individual LSPs, freelancers, and other translation professionals transformed themselves into a variety of avatars and moved onto a specially designed virtual platform.


České překlady were represented here by a large team of attractive pink-haired avatars. Admittedly, if you are not an experienced computer gamer, controlling the avatar itself can be a challenge. You need to not only learn to walk or run, but also to fly without collisions, wave to others, and even manage the snake or hip-hop dance. After our avatars had mastered these skills, they took turns manning the České překlady booth, where they met other conference participants. They also visited other booths and attended lectures, online discussions, and the JobsFair, which offered the opportunity to meet new linguists.


Our vendor manager Gabriela Kadlecová, a member of the conference’s organisation team, even became a moderator of one discussion group. She invited other attendees to our booth to discuss the topic of providing feedback to vendors. She perfectly managed to overcome technical problems in a situation where individual debaters were alternately losing video and sound – which certainly cannot happen during a regular conference…


From the presentations, we would definitely like to highlight one by Daniela D’Amato and Giady Gerotto from Creative Words, entitled “The magic wand of effective goals: PMs & VMs happily ever after”, during which the presenters demonstrated the way they managed to streamline the use of vendors in the database.


The conference also offered presentations on topics other than solely vendor management. Other topics included, for example, the pitfalls of MTPE, i.e. machine translation post-editing, or the practical demonstrations of working with the Juremy translation tool for the quick and easy search of terminology and phrases from the domain of EU law and legislation. The topics of the individual presentations will be covered in a separate blog post.


After the official programme came to an end, the conference offered a daily space for informal gatherings and networking. We activated the cameras of our computers, moved from office mode to a friendly and informal one, poured a glass of wine or beer at home, and met our colleagues to have fun in virtual chat zones. The final online disco with a playlist prepared to perfection was definitely an unforgettable experience for all of us.


So how do we see the conference overall?

This virtual tour of the world of translation was a new experience for most of the České překlady team, and we admit that as people who love socialising, we prefer to meet up with our colleagues on this planet and in person. Let’s hope our waiting will soon be over and we will be able to see each other at some of the upcoming MCE conferences held in beautiful European cities.


Many thanks to the organising team for their efforts – we know this was a challenging task!


Author: Irena Šotková



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